In addition to successful league play, Fabio accomplished a lot during his time in the Italian national team. With Fabio on the team, Italy won consecutive Under-21 European Championships in 1994 and 1996, and in 1997 Fabio earned his first senior cap. As team captain, Fabio led the Italian team to victory in the 2006 FIFA World Cup and received the FIFA World Player of the Year award. So far, Fabio is the only defender to received this award. In 2009, Fabio became the most capped Italian player of all time.
During his fotball career, Fabio was often referred to as “Muro di Berlino” which is Italien for “The Berlin Wall”.
As a young boy Fabio played for a local Bagnoli team and got the attention of talent scouts from SSC Napoli. Fabio became a ball boy for the club and could watch his idols Diego Maradona and Ciro Ferrara play. Eventually, he was deemed ready to join the team started to play alongside his childhood idols. Fabio made his Serie A debut in1993 in a match against Juventus.
In 1995, Napoli sold Fabio to Parma where he became a regular right away. Parma won the UEFA Cup and Coppa Italia, and Fabio was named Serie A Defender of the Year.
In 2002, Fabio was transferred to Inter (Internazionale) for €23 millions. Inter reached the semi-finals of Champions League during the 2002/2003 season and also finished second in Serie A. Due to injury, Fabio was forced to refrain from playing a lot of matches during his second season with Inter.
After two years with Inter, Fabio moved to Juventus where he reunited with his former team mates Lilian Thuram and Gianluigi Buffon from Parma to form an impressive defense. Juventus won the Scudetti in 2005 and 2006, and Fabio received the Oscar del Calcio award for his debut season with Juventus.
In 2006, Fabio transferred to Real Madrid where he remained for three seasons. He was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 2006, and Real Madrid won La Liga in 2006/2007 and 2007/2008. When Fabio’s contract with Real Madrid expired, he returned to Juventus in time for the 2009/2010 season.
In late 2009 Fabio was injured and had a hard time healing. His contract with Juventus was not renewed, and in June 2010 it was announced that Fabio had signed on for two years with Al-Ahli Dubai, a team in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Football League. Fabio played 16 matches for Al-Ahli Dubai before retiring from football in June 2011 due to a severe knee problem. Since then, Fabio has served as a global brand ambassador and technical consultant for the Al-Ahli Club of Dubai.
- Fabio was born in Naples in 1974.
- His father Pasquale Cannavaro was a bank clerk who played football in Giugliano, his mother Gelsomina Costanzo worked as a maid.
- Fabio has an older sister named Renata and a younger brother named Paolo. Paolo is a defender in Napoli. Fabio and Paoli played together in Napoli 2000-2002.
- Fabio married Daniela Arenoso in 1994. They have three children; Christian (born in 1999), Martina (born in 2001) and Andrea (born in 2004).
- Together with Ciro Ferrara, Fabio has established the “Fondazione Cannavaro Ferrara” which supports a hospital in Naples by procuring cancer research equipment and fund surgery for special cases of cancer.